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Chapter 1: Louisiana.

St. Charles! Eighteen miles from New Orleans. Another hour! We try to catch the landscape as the pools and marshes, cedars and palmettoes slip behind us; but we try in vain to fix our minds on trifles by the way. A grove of orange trees, the fruit all burning ripe, arrests attention and provokes a cry of rapture; yet the coolest brain among us frets and flutters, for we know that we are driving towards a scene of strife, on which the eyes and hearts of forty millions of people are fixed in passionate hope and dread.

President Grant affirms that “anarchy reigns in Louisiana.” No one doubts the fact; but General McEnery and the White citizens assert that this “reign of anarchy” was introduced by Grant, and [2] is maintained in New Orleans for purposes of his own. This “reign” began, they say, two years ago, on the receipt by Stephen B. Packard of a telegram in these words :

Washington, Department of Justice, Dec. 3, 1872.
You are to enforce the decrees of the United States Courts, no matter by whom resisted, and General Emory will furnish you with the necessary troops for that purpose.

George H. Williams, Attorney-General.

This message was a riddle. Stephen B. Packard is a carpet-bagger, whom the President has sent to New Orleans as United States Marshal. General Emory is a Federal officer commanding the Department of the Gulf. But who were Marshal Packard and General Emory to fight? No mandate of the United States Courts had been resisted in New Orleans. No opposition was expected by those Courts. Judge Durell, the only Federal magistrate in Louisiana, had never made a complaint. Why, then, was an inferior officer like Stephen B. Packard, urged by Attorney-General Williams, President [3] Grant's legal adviser, to call out troops in order to execute the mandate of his court?

The President was supposed to have two objects in view at New Orleans; first, to secure the State vote for his second term as President; second to procure the State senatorship for his brother-in-law, James B. Casey. For either of these purposes Federal troops might be employed by an unscrupulous President; but Judge Durell was trying to get the Senatorship for Norton, and therefore unlikely to assist in bringing Casey to the front. Neither Governor Warmoth nor General McEnery could make it out. Against whom was Packard to march the Federal troops? Time solved the mystery.

Stephen B. Packard got his telegram on Wednesday night. Next evening, Durell sent for him to his private lodgings on important business. Billings, an attorney acting for the scalawags, was sitting at Durell's table, writing out an order, which the judge explained to his visitor. Packard was to ask for troops, to march on the State House, and to hold that edifice against all comers. In New Orleans the Capitol is both executive office [4] and the legislative hall. Packard was to oust the Governor, seize the archives, and close the doors. When Billings had drawn and Durell signed his warrant, Packard left the two lawyers, ran to the barracks, got a company, and in the dead of night attacked and occupied the Capitol.

No living man, not even President Grant, pretends to think that order of Durell lawful, or those proceedings of Packard just.

Durell had his reward. Casey withdrew from the contest for Senator, taking the snug and lucrative berth of Collector, while Durell's friend Norton was adopted by a scalawag county as their party candidate.

General Warmoth, Governor of the State, was a Fusionist: the Fusionists being a party of timid people, led by Senator Jewell, who wished for nothing so much as peace, and sank all points of difference with their neighbours in order to oppose the policy attributed to President Grant of meaning to rule Louisiana and her sister States by the sword. Warmoth's term of office was near an end. Jewell proposed him for a second term; but Jewell's advocacy failed. “ A second term for Warmoth, and no [5] second term for Grant,” proved a bad cry. The contest for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor lay between General McEnery and General Penn, soldiers of local name, on one side; and William P. Kellogg, a lawyer from Illinois, and Caesar C. Antoine, a Negro porter, on the other side.

Each party claimed the victory, and till the Chambers met no one could say how matters stood. The evidence might have to go before the Supreme Court of Louisiana; but as six or seven weeks remained of Governor Warmoth's term, there was plenty of time to sift the lists before Louisiana should find herself without a legal governor and a regular government. McEnery was content to wait until the Chambers met; but Kellogg dared not face a chamber meeting under Warmoth's orders; and Kellogg's movements brought about the reign of anarchy.

William Pitt Kellogg, a lawyer out of practice, came from Illinois to New Orleans in search of fortune. Hundreds of his neighbours do the same, exchanging the frosts of Lake Michigan for the sunshine on the Gulf. He brought to New Orleans a carpet-bag, a glozing tongue, and a supply of sentiment. John Brown was his hero, and in company [6] with John Brown's “soul,” he marched and chorused till a Negro caucus ran him for the local Senate. Lank and smooth, with sanctimonious garb and speech, he won the Negro heart, and got Republicans in Washington to mark him as a man to carry out their plans. Kellogg was intriguing for the State senator's chair, when the more lucrative and dazzling prize of Governor swung before his eyes. The place is worth eight thousand dollars a year in gold. Except the Governor of Pennsylvania, who receives ten thousand dollars a year, the Governor of Louisiana has the highest pay of any governor in the United States. Governor Coke of Texas has only five thousand, Governor Houston of Alabama only four thousand-Governor Ames of Mississippi only three thousand dollars a year. Besides his eight thousand a year, a Governor of Louisiana has perquisites and patronage worth more than double his official salary. If he wishes to make money fast, and feels no scruple as to means, the wealth of New Orleans, the commerce of the Gulf, are in his hands. Governor Warmoth is said to have found a fortune at the State House.

The highest prizes offered to ambition by the State appeared to lie within Kellogg's reach; [7] but he required much strength and skill to grasp his prize. In everything save numbers his opponents were superior to his friends. McEnery and Penn were men of wealth, position, and repute, with every citizen of New Orleans and every planter of Louisiana at their side. Kellogg was a stranger in the city, having no other force behind him than the scalawags, the Black leaguers, and the Federal troops.

From Governor Warmoth he had nothing to expect. Warmoth was trying a middle course. Like Kellogg, Warmoth is a stranger on the Gulf. His friends are scalawags and Negroes, but scalawags and Negroes who have lost their faith in Grant. Young, bold, and dexterous, Warmoth is not the man to be discouraged by a single check. As Governor he held the lists. It was his duty to convene the Chambers, open the sessions, and endorse the bills. Nothing could be done without his signature. Might not this feud between Conservatives and Caesarians be turned to good account? If neither Kellogg nor McEnery should be able to prove his case, Warmoth, the only legal officer, must continue to rule the State until a new election was held, a new return verified, a new [8] convention held. Who knew what candidates might be chosen on that second trial? Many things were in his favour. He was Governor. A moderate man, he stood between two factions, neither of which was strong enough to crush the other. Under him there might be order. Under McEnery there was likely to be disorder; under Kellogg there was certain to be anarchy.

Unable to trust Warmoth, and unwilling to meet a chamber opened by him, Kellogg convened a meeting of his partisans. It was Saturday morning; on Monday the Chambers were to meet. A Chamber organised by Warmoth would proceed to verify the elections, and would probably refer the great question as to which of the two candidates, McEnery and Kellogg, was legally elected, to the judges of the Supreme Court. Kellogg feared alike the senators and the judges. But how was he to sweep them both aside?

Billings, the unscrupulous attorney, who was acting in the Negro interest, proposed that Caesar Antoine, the Negro porter, should be employed to steal a march, not only on the Governor and the Chambers, but on the local courts.

The scheme proposed by Billings was adopted [9] and the Negro porter went before Judge Durell, not in open court, but in the Judge's lodgings, and exhibited a bill, setting forth a statement that, whereas he, Caesar C. Antoine, had been duly elected Lieutenant-governor of Louisiana, and whereas he had reason to expect embarrassment in entering on the said office, he prayed the United States Court to grant him an order restraining certain persons, named in a schedule prepared by Billings, from doing any act, from speaking any word, from giving any sign, in prejudice of his claim to the said office of Lieutenant-governor.

The persons named in the schedule as likely to prejudice Antoine's claims were one hundred and thirty-five in number. The first was Governor Warmoth. Next came the Secretary of State. Then followed nineteen Senators, more than a hundred representatives, and the members of both the Conservative and Republican returning boards. In short, this Negro asked Judge Durell to prohibit the executive and legislative bodies of Louisiana from doing any act in prejudice of his claims-for five clear days! Judge Durell granted him an order in the terms set down.

President Grant is faithful to his tools; yet [10] President Grant has been compelled to own that the order made by Judge Durell on the application of Antoine was not only “ illegal” but a “grave mistake.”

Yet this “illegal order” was signed, and the “grave mistake” carried into full effect. These things were not only done in ignorance, but are maintained to-day, when the illegality is admitted, and the “grave mistake ” denounced by President Grant himself. In fact, this order, hardly to be matched in absurdity by the edicts of Rio Jacques on the Senegal, governs the domestic politics of Louisiana to the present hour!

If Judge Durell had not signed that order, the legislature of Louisiana would have met, and organized itself under Governor Warmoth. It is all but certain that Chambers freely organized would have found McEnery and Penn duly elected to the executive office. It is certain that the Supreme Court of Louisiana would have sustained that finding. Under a Conservative ruler, New Orleans might have found such peace as reigns in Charleston and Raleigh.

Judge Durell's order gave the partisans of Kellogg an advantage over the citizens of Louisiana, and by Kellogg's act the reign of “ anarchy” began.

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Henry C. Warmoth (16)
Durell (14)
William Pitt Kellogg (13)
Stephen B. Packard (10)
Grant (10)
McEnery (9)
Billings (5)
Caesar C. Antoine (4)
Penn (3)
Jewell (3)
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James B. Casey (3)
George H. Williams (2)
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John Brown (2)
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December 3rd, 1872 AD (1)
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